Publish austerity death rates!

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A PETITION launched by campaign group Change.org has called on the Courts and Tribunal Service to force the release of data on the number of disabled people who lost their lives because of government austerity measures.

The petition demands that it orders the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publish the figures upon the Freedom of Information (FoI) act. Over 81,000 people have already signed the petition which urges the release of figures detailing the number of disabled people to have died within six weeks of having their benefits cut.

Change.org member Maggie Zolobajluk says in her petition to the Courts and Tribunal Service: ‘Ian Duncan Smith is attempting to block the publication of “death statistics” that will reveal how many people have died within six weeks of their benefits being stopped. After a freedom of information request, The Information Commissioner’s Office has said that there is no reason not to publish these figures but Ian Duncan Smith’s department, the Department of Work and Pensions, has launched an appeal to prevent the figures being made public.

‘I’ve started this petition to call on the Courts and Tribunal Service to dismiss this appeal and so prevent any further delay by the DWP in publishing these figures. Please support me. For years there have been reports of people committing suicide or dying from ill-health soon after their benefits are stopped. As a partner of someone with a disability I have been through two benefit appeals and have also been involved in a benefit tribunal representation – so I know from personal experience how stressful the system can be and the impact they have on families.

‘I believe the public needs to know the full impact of benefit changes. In 2012 the Department of Work and Pensions published statistics which showed 10,600 people who had been receiving benefits died between January and November 2011. These figures caused an outcry. Ministers then blocked publication of any updated figures. Now, the Information Commissioner’s Office has admitted there is no reason not to publish them. This appeal is the last hurdle to overcome to get these figures out in the public. Please support this petition to dismiss the appeal and publish the “death stats”.’

A British charity warned last December that hundreds of thousands of disabled Britons are waiting for adequate housing, accusing the government of failing those with disabilities. The Leonard Cheshire Disability charity organisation published a report saying some 300,000 disabled people were on waiting lists for suitable homes across the UK.